Chef Richard Turner is back where he wants to be: in the kitchen at the newly-opened Maribel in Birmingham.
Maribel, which roughly translates as ‘beautiful’ in Latin, opened on 27 April at the former Edmunds Bistro de Luxe site at Brindleyplace. The chef had closed his three-AA-rosette restaurant, Turners at 69, in January.
“I’m just solely involved in the kitchen, which is the way I want it. I’ve had an input into the design of the restaurant, but my domain now is behind the kitchen door,” said Turner, speaking to The Caterer.
“I feel like I’ve made the right decision. I feel a lot less stressed now I haven’t got to worry about all the other things that come with running a business.”
Still under the same ownership, the 40-cover restaurant has had a £250,000 refurbishment to transform it into Maribel. There is one produce-led menu from which guests can choose two to eight courses, with wine flights available from four courses.
However, Turner is adamant that he is not returning to fine dining, and there will be no white tablecloths.
“I don’t like the phrase or the connotations of it. I don’t think the word has got any relevance at the moment,” he said. “All we’re trying to give people is a relaxed environment, serving them the very best food that we can and serving them as well as we can. A business is there to service its customers, so we’re trying to give our customers what they want.”
Turners at 69 originally opened in 2007 as Turners Restaurant and held a Michelin star from 2009 to 2017. It relaunched in August 2016 with a new casual menu after the chef became bored of the canapé/tasting menu/petits fours template.
Turner said: “I had run my course there and I just felt like it was time for a change. You do need a work-life balance, and I feel now I’ve got that. It’s made me a better cook, it’s made me more creative and it’s made me a better person, so to my mind, it was the right decision.”
He describes Maribel as a “contemporary and spacious” restaurant, where guests can feel comfortable, with a lighter, healthier menu and smaller, ‘tapas-style’ portions.
He added: “The only thing that I’m hoping for the restaurant is that it’s full lunch and dinner. I don’t care about accolades, I’m not cooking for the guides. The only thing I control is what comes across my pass. Anything outside of that domain I can’t control, so what’s the point in worrying about it?”
Edmunds Bistro de Luxe, which was helmed by Didier Philpot, was originally named Edmunds, but relaunched in 2016 as a more “accessible” concept.